The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to withdraw their young fast-bowler Naseem Shah from their squad for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup to be played in South Africa from 17 January to 9 February. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mohammad Wasim Jnr has been named Naseem Shah’s replacement.
Shah aged 16 has been caught in a tug of war between the senior and U19 teams with the former not willing to send him back to age-group cricket. The PCB's decision to now withdraw him from the Under-19 squad seems to have triggered a new controversy. Many believe it is a measure taken by PCB to avoid another age fraud.
Age fraud is the latest hottest topic in the cricketing world, countries including Pakistan and India are at the forefront of it. Last week former Indian U-19 opener Manjot Kalra was suspended by BCCI over age fraud. Several others including KKR stars Nitish Rana and Shivam Mavi are still under the scanner.
With respect to Pakistan, age fraud is not a new topic, several of their young players have been under the radar and many of their stalwarts have admitted of doing it later in their career, or after retirement including their former captain Shahid Afridi.
From the day Naseem made his debut, speculations have aroused that he is definitely older than 16 years, which he and PCB claim him to be. Earlier a tweet from Pakistan journalist which dates to December 1 had been circulating in the internet which says “Highly rated 17-year-old pace bowler Naseem Shah who was signed by Quetta Gladiators for the Pakistan Super League has suffered a back injury.
Sah is back in training and hopes to be fit for PSL4 #Cricket #PSL4”. The fast bowler has faced enough criticism from social media regarding his age from his debut days. As expected Twitterati have gone crazy over this decision of PCB to withdraw his name from the under-19 team. Many feel it is a deliberate action taken by PCB to save their face to prevent yet another age fraud whereas many feel it is unfair on Naseem.
There seems to be no end to the age fraud in Pakistan.
On the other side, Nassem's replacement Wasim thanked PCB for considering him.
(To get exclusive tips related to your fantasy team, enter your name and phone number below)